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"Dead in this world, living above the sky,
As for the numerous and various books which he wrote of several subjects, Bale presenteth us with their perfect catalogue.*
JOHN BARNYNGHAM, born at a village so named in this county,† was bred a Carmelite in Ipswich; and afterwards proceeded doctor in Oxford: thence going to Sorbon (the cock-pit of controversies) was there admitted to the same degree.
Trithemius takes notice of his parts and perfections, allowing him "festivum ingeniuin et ad quodcunque deflexum," having a subtile and supple wit, so that he could be what he would be, a great master of defence in the schools, both to guard and hit. Bale saith, he saw his works in Cambridge, fairly written in four great volumes. Weary with his long race beyond the seas, he returned at last to the place whence he started; and, retiring to his convent, whereof he was ruler, at Ipswich, died there January 22, 1448.
JOHN of BURY was an Augustinian in Clare, doctor of divinity in Cambridge, Provincial of his order through England and Ireland; no mean scholar, and a great opposer of Reginald Peakock and all other Wickliffites. He flourished anno 1460.
THOMAS SCROOPE was born at Bradley in this county (but extracted from the Lord Scroope in Yorkshire); who rolled through many professions: 1. He was a Benedictine, but found that order too loose for his conscience. 2. A Carmelite of Norwich, as a stricter profession. 3. An anchorite (the dungeon of the prison of Carmelitism), wherein he lived twenty years. 4. Dispensed with by the Pope, he became bishop of Dromore in Ireland. 5. Quitting his bishopric, he returned to his solitary life; yet so, that once a week he used to walk on his bare feet, and preach the Decalogue in the villages round about.
He lived to be extremely aged; for, about the year 1425, clothed in sackcloth and girt with an iron chain, he used to cry out in the streets, "That new Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, was shortly to come down from heaven, prepared for her spouse, Revel. xxi.; and that with great joy he saw the same in the Spirit."
Thomas Waldensis, the great anti-Wickliffite, was much offended thereat; protesting it was a scandal and disgrace to the church. However, our Scroope long out-lived him, and died
De Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. viii. num. 7.
+ Bale, De Cent. viii. num. 11.
Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. viii. num. 53.; and Pits, de Scriptoribus Anglia, p. 681, anno 1491.
aged well nigh 100 years, "non sine sanctitatis opinione," say both Bale and Pits; and it is a wonder they meet in the same opinion. He was buried at Lowestoffe in this county, anno
SINCE THE REFORMATION.
RICHARD SIBS was born in the edge of this county (yet so that Essex seemeth to have no share in him) nigh Sudbury, and was bred a fellow of St. John's College in Cambridge. He proved afterwards a most profitable preacher to the Honourable Society of Grays-Inn, whence he was chosen master of St. Katharine Hall in Cambridge. He found the house in a mean condition, the wheel of St. Katharine having stood still (not to say gone backwards) for some years together: he left it replenished with scholars, beautified with buildings, better endowed with revenues. He was most eminent for that grace, which is most worth, yet cost the least to keep it, viz. Christian humility. Of all points of divinity he most frequently pressed that of Christ's Incarnation; and if the angels desired to pry into that mystery, no wonder if this angelical man had a longing to look therein. A learned divine imputed this good doctor's great humility to his much meditating on that point of Christ's humiliation, when he took our flesh upon him. If it be true what some hold in physic, that "Omne par nutrit suum par," (that the vitals of our body are most strengthened by feeding on such meat as are likest unto them ;) I see no absurdity to maintain that men's souls improve most in those graces whereon they have most constant meditation, whereof this worthy doctor was an eminent instance. He died in the 58th year of his age, anno Domini
WILLIAM ALABLASTER was born at Hadley in this county; and by marriage was nephew to Doctor John Still, bishop of Bath and Wells. He was bred fellow in Trinity College in Cambridge,-a most rare poet as any our age or nation hath produced; witness his tragedy of "Roxana," admirably acted in that college, and so pathetically, that a gentlewoman present thereat (Reader, I had it from an author whose credit it is sin with me to suspect), at the hearing of the last words thereof, sequar, sequar, so hideously pronounced, fell distracted, and never after fully recovered her senses.
He attended chaplain in the Calais-voyage on Robert earl of Essex, where he was so affected with the beauty of Popish churches, and the venerable respect the Papists gave to their priests, that he staggered in his own religion. There wanted not those of the Romish party to force his fall, whom they found reeling; working on his ambition, who complained of the slowness of preferment in England, which followed not so fast as in
due time to overtake his deserts; so that soon after he turned a Papist.
Yet it was not long before he was out of love with that persuasion; so that, whether because he could not comport with their discipline, who would have made him (who conceived himself at the top) begin again (according to their course) at the bottom of human learning; or because (which I rather charitably believe) that upon second thoughts he seriously disgusted the Romish superstition, he returned into his own country.
It was not long before he was made prebendary of St. Paul's, and rector of the rich parsonage of Tharfield in Hertfordshire. He was an excellent Hebrician, and well skilled in cabalistical learning; witness his Clerum in Cambridge, when he commenced doctor in divinity, taking for his text the first words of the first book of Chronicles, "Adam, Seth, Enos."
Besides the literal sense, as they are proper names of the Patriarchs, he mined for a mystical meaning: man is put or placed for pain and trouble.
How well this agreeth with the original belongs not to me to inquire. This I know, it had been hard (if not impossible) for him to hold on the same rate, and reduce the proper names in the genealogies following to such an appellativeness as should compose a continued sense. He died anno Domini 163 ..
SAMUEL WARD was born at Haveril in this county, where his father had long been a painful minister of the place; and I remember I have read this epitaph written on his monument in the chancel there, which I will endeavour to translate:
He bred his son Samuel, in Cambridge, in Sidney College, whereof he became fellow, being an excellent artist, linguist, divine, and preacher. He had a sanctified fancy, dexterous in designing expressive pictures, representing much matter in a little model.
From Cambridge he was preferred minister in or rather of Ipswich, having a care over, and a love from, all the parishes in that populous place. Indeed he had a magnific virtue (as if he had learned it from the load-stone, in whose qualities he was so knowing) to attract people's affections. Yet found he foes as well as friends, who complained of him to the high commission, where he met with some molestation.
He had three brethren ministers, on the same token that
some have said, that these four put together would not make up the abilities of their father. Nor were they themselves offended with this hyperbole, to have the branches lessened, to greaten their root. One of them, lately dead, was beneficed in Essex; and, following the counsel of the poet,
Ridentem dicere verum,
"What doth forbid but one may smile,
hath in a jesting way, in some of his books, delivered much smart truth of the present times. Mr. Samuel died 163..
JOHN BOISE, born at Elmeseth in this county, being son of the minister thereof. He was bred first in Hadley-school, then in St. John's College in Cambridge, and was deservedly chosen fellow thereof. Here he (as a volunteer) read in his bed a Greek lecture to such young scholars who preferred Antelucana studia before their own ease and rest.* He was afterwards of that quorum in the translating of the Bible; and whilst St. Chrysostom lives, Mr. Boise shall not die; such his learned pains on him in the edition of Sir Henry Savil. Being parson of Boxworth in Cambridgeshire, and prebendary of Ely, he made a quiet end about the beginning of our warlike disturb
ROMISH EXILE WRITERS.
BOBERT SOUTHWEL was born in this county, as Pitseus affirmeth, who, although often mistaken in his locality, may be believed herein, as professing himself familiarly acquainted with him at Rome. But the matter is not much where he was born; seeing, though cried up by men of his own profession for his many books in verse and prose, he was reputed a dangerous enemy by the state, for which he was imprisoned, and executed, March the 3rd, 1595.
BENEFACTORS TO THE PUBLIC.
ELIZABETH, third daughter of Gilbert earl of Clare,† and wife to John Burgh earl of Ulster in Ireland, I dare not say born at, but surely had her greatest honour from, Clare in this county. Blame me not, reader, if I be covetous on any account to recover the mention of her memory, who, anno 1343, founded Clare Hall in Cambridge, since augmented by many benefactors.
Sir SIMON EYRE, son of John Eyre, was born at Brandon in this county; bred in London, first an upholsterer, then a draper; in which profession he profited, that he was chosen lord mayor
Thomas Gataker one of them. See the narrative at the end of his funeral Sermon.-F.
† Vincent, in his Corrections of Brookes' Errors.
of the City, 1445. On his own cost he built Leaden-hall (for a common garner of corn to the city) of squared stone in form as it now sheweth, with a fair chapel in the east side of the quadrant; over the porch of which he caused to be written, 66 Dextra Domini exaltavit me," (the Lord's right hand hath exalted me.) He is elsewhere styled " Honorandus et famosus Mercator." He left five thousand marks, a prodigious sum in that age, to charitable uses; so that, if my sight mistake not (as I am confident it doth not), his bounty, like Saul, stands higher than any others from the shoulders upwards.† He departed this life the 18th of September, anno Domini 1459; and is buried in the church of St. Mary Woolnoth, in Lombard Street, London.
THOMAS SPRING, commonly called "the Rich Clothier," was (I believe) born, I am sure lived and waxed wealthy, at Laneham in this county. He built the carved Chapel of Wainscot in the north side of the chancel, as also the chapel at the south side of the church. This Thomas Spring, senior, died anno 1510, and lieth buried under a monument in the chapel of his own erection.
SINCE THE REFORMATION.
WILLIAM COPPINGER, born at Bucks-hall in this county, where his family flourisheth at this day in a good esteem. He was bred a fishmonger in London, so prospering in his profession, that he became lord mayor anno 1512. He gave the half of his estate (which was very great) to pious uses, and relieving the poor.§
His bounty mindeth me of the words of Zacchæus to our Saviour: "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."||
Demand not of me whether our Coppinger made such plentiful restitution, being confident there was no cause thereof, seeing he never was one of the publicans, persons universally infamous for extortion: otherwise I confess, that that charity, which is not bottomed on justice, is but built on a foundered foundation. I am sorry to see this gentleman's arms, (the epidemical disease of that age) substracted (in point of honour) by the addition of a superfluous border.
[S.N.] Sir WILLIAM CORDAL, Knight. Wherever he was born, he had a fair estate at Long-Melford in this county, and lieth buried in that fair church under a decent monument. We will translate his epitaph, which will perfectly acquaint us
+1 Samuel x. 23.
Luke xix. 8.
* Stow's Survey of London, p. 163. Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 767. § Stow's Survey of London, anno 1512.